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Diabetes Symptoms in Cats

Frequent urination, excessive thirst, unexplained weight loss, and lackluster coat are some of the most common symptoms of feline diabetes.
CatAppy Staff
Diabetes is a condition wherein the sugar level in blood is abnormally high. It can occur when the body shows its incapacity to produce a hormone known as insulin, which maintains normal blood sugar levels. Diabetes can also happen when the body is no longer efficient in utilizing insulin properly. In either case, the condition hinders the breakdown of sugar, which can lead to wide range of symptoms.

Symptoms

The onset of diabetes typically changes the behavior of cats. Although diabetes can affect cats at any given age, old and obese cats are susceptible to this condition. Symptoms are discussed below:

Frequent Urination
Diabetes in cats often causes increased urination, which means more cleaning work for the cat owners. Frequent urination is the result of high sugar levels in blood. As we all know, the production of urine is the result of filtration of blood, which is done by the kidneys. The urine primarily contains water and waste matter of the blood. The kidneys remove all the unwanted material from the blood during filtration and deposit it into the urine. Thus, when the kidneys detect high sugar levels in the blood, it responds by increasing urine production, in order to remove excess sugar.

Feline Fur Devoid of Luster and Shine
Lackluster coat in cats is often an indicator of untreated diabetes. The condition literally mars the appearance of their coat as the hair look dull and dry. Frequent hair loss is also commonly reported in diabetic cats. In other words, the cat looks pretty ugly.

Drinks Water Frequently
Diabetic cats drink water several times throughout the day to quench their 'unconquerable' thirst. As the cat drinks more water than usual, it triggers another problem in the form of frequent urination. The increased urine production is what makes the body dehydrated, which in turn triggers excessive thirst.

Lethargic Appearance
Excessive laziness is commonly associated with cats suffering from diabetes. The cat appears lethargic and seems to be no longer interested in activities which it enjoyed earlier. It prefers to lie down in one corner of the room the whole day.

Loses Weight
Diabetic cats show a dramatic rise in appetite, but strangely that doesn't transform into weight gain. There is sudden weight loss, which is a warning sign of poorly controlled diabetes.

Becomes Weak
As aforementioned, the excess food intake due to diabetes does not lead to increase in weight. On the contrary, the weight decreases and is accompanied by overall weakness. To be more specific, the hind legs become weak and are unable to bear body weight. As a result, the cat uses the hocks (ankles in humans) for walking. The weakness in legs is the result of nerve damage to the extremities (limbs). This is a weak leg syndrome and mostly occurs because of uncontrolled diabetes.

As the condition aggravates, their appetite falls drastically and is followed by vomiting, breathing problems and eventually the cat goes into coma.

Diabetes cannot be cured, so treatment aims at managing the symptoms effectively. Cats can remain physically active even during diabetes. All it requires is appropriate treatment at the right time. Insulin injections or oral medicines are needed to regulate sugar levels in blood. Along with medicines, the cat's diet has to be modified that keeps diabetes under control. In some cases, the veterinarian prescribes only a modified diet plan to maximize utilization of insulin, so as to regulate blood sugar levels.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a veterinarian.